Shanghai, China

I’ve got to say that time has passed by quicker than I expected here in China. I intended to write a post on this long ago but I’ve been kept so busy with my classes and exploring that I’ve just never gotten around to it until now (my bad). It feels weird that the semester is almost over. I remember how nervous I was when I first came here, not only because I was in another country, but also because I only knew a few words of the language (those were ni hao, xie xie, and wo yao shui). Looking back at everything I’ve seen and done, I can’t help but be amazed. I can now say that I’ve been to the Great Wall of China, I’ve seen the terracotta warriors, I’ve explored the Ming tombs, and I’ve also somehow survived going to the Pearl Market (Beijing and Shanghai). However, going to these historical sites just scratches the surface of what it is like to live in China. Every morning, when I go to class, I see the local people practicing their tai chi. People young and old will randomly say hello (in english) to me. I do find it a little weird to hear Justin Beiber being played inside of stores though. I’ve become accustomed to riding the subway (I think I have been on one only once before). A lesson to learn quickly while living here is to avoid the subway at rush hour. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people packed together in a single space in my entire life. Despite this, people will still try to get on. It’s funny how little things can throw you off living in a different country. Things like how different the milk tastes, or how in China they have green tea flavored chips(and that’s only the beginning of weird flavored things they have here). While I’m on the subject of food, I might as well say now that Chinese food in China is nothing like Chinese food in America. It’s just another thing to adjust your expectations to. Some other small things I’ve noticed is how in the summer time many people walked under umbrellas even when it wasn’t rainy. The people here try to avoid getting tan because they see darker skin as lower class. They sell skin lightening creams in the stores so people can try to improve their complexion. This amused me because I just thought of how in America we have stores selling tanning lotions and have tanning salons. I walk around every day enjoying the time I have here. I’ve learned so many things just by living here than I ever would sitting inside of a classroom. Once the semester is over many people from the USAC group will be going back to their respective homes. I’ve often heard the people in my program say how much they miss home and how excited they will be to go back to see their friends and family. I’m excited about the fact that my journey isn’t over yet. I’ve still got another semester to go. I wonder: what will I learn next?

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